Who are your people? Where are you from?

24 09 2013

Have you ever wondered where you came from? – Not biologically. I mean, who are your ancestors? Where did your great-grandparents live? What about their great-grandparents? Who are you? What is your family heritage? Who are your people? I believe most of us have asked similar questions. And so, when I come to a verse (2 Chronicles 7:14) where those addressed are “My people, who are called by My name” it causes me to ask:

1) Who is speaking? In this case, evidence is given to us by the context of the verse. It is God. “My people” are God’s people. “My name” refers God’s name.

2) Who is addressed? Who are God’s people? In the immediate context, this verse refers to the nation of Israel. Those people who’s lineage comes from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel was (is?) a theocracy – a system of government ordained by God. Israel was the nation that bore the the name of God. They were called by His name. However, in light of what we find in the New Testament, God’s name is also given to those who have trusted Christ. Those of us in Christ are called the church.

If this seems at all confusing, let me try to clear it up. (If for no one else but me.)

* Whether this applies strictly to Israel or is expanded to include the Church, we certainly can’t expect people who are apathetic or antagonistic toward God to be among those addressed here. But this discussion isn’t even the primary focus. Let me caution you to not jump to the end, either. This verse is not intended to provide a way to “heal our land.” Many Christians in the U.S. use this verse as a way to “restore” the country to resemble some notion of the past. While that might be a noble quest, to do so is to miss the grander concept.

This passage is not about restoring an institution (political or otherwise), but about redeeming individuals to a Holy God. The verbs within this verse point us in that direction.

1) I humble myself. When we begin to see God for who He truly is, in all of His majesty, and glory, and holiness, our only appropriate response is humility. As Isaiah cried, “I’m as good as dead! For I have looked God in the face. I have seen the God of Angel Armies” (Isaiah 6, loosely adapted from The Message)

2) And pray. Amazing! This holy God wants me to commune with Him! Stop for a minute and let that soak in. (In fact, stop reading this post, turn off the music, close the door, and ponder this: The One who spoke creation into being and breathed the breath of life into humanity wants to speak to you! So stop. And listen.)

3) Seek His face. He wants to be known by me. When I seek Him with my whole heart, I will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13

4) Turn from evil. I’ve got to lay it down. All of it. I must repent of my selfishness. My evil desires. My pride. My sin. I must turn from that. Here, Jesus, take it.

Thankfully, I don’t attempt any of these under my own power. It’s not that I won’t, but rather…I can’t. Holy Spirit lives within me. He empowers me. He overcomes sin. Through Him I am humbled and pray. Through Him I seek the face of God and turn from evil. And the real treasure is that through Christ ANYONE can be called the people of God. Humble yourself, pray, seek Him, and repent. And if/when all this happens, what does God choose to do with “my land?”…I’m not sure. When I see the face of God, I have wonder how much anything else matters. In the final analysis, this isn’t my home anyway. And for other Christians, “my people,” this isn’t your home, either.